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The Race Ahead: Sophie and Annette's Preparation from Noumea to Osaka

The Race Ahead: Sophie and Annette's Preparation from Noumea to Osaka

The Race Ahead: Sophie and Annette's Preparation from Noumea to Osaka

Navigating the open waters has always been a journey of discovery, and for Sophie and Annette, it's a shared passion that's led them to the upcoming Noumea race and beyond.

With a blend of racing and cruising experiences, this mother-daughter duo is poised to complete a string of long offshore yacht races, all while cherishing the comfort and camaraderie that Fika brings to their sailing adventures. With the Noumea race on the horizon and the Osaka race as their ultimate goal these two sailors are ready for the challenge.

While Sophie may not have an extensive racing background, her participation in the Melbourne to Hobart races in 2018 and 2022 has given her a taste for offshore competition. However, her heart lies more in cruising, where she's gained invaluable experience living on her own boat, equipping her with the skills to maintain a boat on the go and navigating. Sophie is currently cruising around Australia onboard her own yacht and feels that this has been a great preparation for the journey ahead.


Annette & Sophie on the return voyage following the 2018 Melbourne Osaka Cup.

Sophie’s mother, Annette, on the other hand, already has a Hobart race under her belt from 2019 and fondly recalls her 2018 Osaka race which she completed with her partner. Despite facing challenges like navigating through a cyclone, encountering ghost nets and floating debris, the experience was transformative, leading her to switch careers from nursing to a career in sailing where she now runs a training centre called Paper Sailors Rock.

As Fika prepares for the PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race, Sophie and Annette share their expectations and goals. They're hopeful for favourable winds and aim to stay close to the pack, finding a rhythm away from the coast. For Sophie, co-skippering with her mom and getting to know Fika better are key objectives, as is documenting their journey as part of her passion for videography.

Sophie during their qualifier for the PONANT Sydney to Noumea Yacht Race


The duo explained that food and comfort is an essential part of their cruising experience. With fresh meals cooked onboard and the occasional warm shower to keep spirits high and energy levels sustained during the race.

In the coming year, each race that Sophie and Annette tackle will be a building block leading up to their pinnacle goal – the Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race. Starting with the Noumea race, followed by this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race serving as their qualifier for the long race to Osaka in 2025.

As for boat upgrades and maintenance, Fika is undergoing some upgrades with the mast out, standing rigging replaced, and new anti-fouling applied. While there are gaps to fill in the sailing wardrobe, including the addition of a second-hand code 0 sail, Sophie and Annette understand that endurance is key, with this race being a marathon rather than a sprint.

Annette at the helm of Fika